Dragging Myself to a New Skill Level with Blender 3D

Working on some very complex stuff in Blender 3D.

Here’s how it’s making me feel.

That’s a 3D model, fully rigged with a posable digital skeleton. Her skin is slightly translucent, her curly hair bounces when she moves, her glasses cast a reflection. It’s actually a very satisfying thing to that I could pose her face in just the way I had hoped, in order to get across my point.

The stuff I’m working on now is very complex… her eyes can track any point in space, and her head turns just slightly in the direction of whatever she’s watching, which gives a nice little touch of realism in video clips. Right now, I’m trying to work it so that her upper eyelid follows the up-down rotation of her eyeball, but not the left-right rotation. Right now, I easily can do both, but not just one or the other. I’m sure there’s a solution, somewhere.Last summer, I watched the whole series of David Allen Ward’s Johnny Blender tutorials, which went through the whole process of creating and rigging a character. The summer ended before I could do much with that, but I learned a lot.This is the first week I’ve been able to relax, with few outside obligations (other than being a father and husband). The interwebs are full of fantastic tutorials, such as Blender Cookie’s intro to the Blender Game Engine. After using that tutorial, I took another character I had created, and some wall panels I had already created, and quickly slapped together a little game in which you control a robot who throws donuts.

It’s too ambitious to call this a game at this stage, because all you can do is walk around, make piles of donuts, and then roll around in them. But that’s still pretty cool.

I find myself endlessly tweaking the physics of the donuts, working on the animation so his feet don’t look like he’s ice skating, fiddling with the camera controls, and adding a whoosh-clump sound to represent servo motors driving his little metal feet.

Blender3D is incredibly complex, but I’ve been playing around with it for long enough that every so often I find myself in the midst of a burst of productivity and confidence.